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The 1998 Mercedes-Benz E430 Sedan

E430 Courtesy of mbusa.com

E430 SportCourtesy of mbusa.com

E430 SportCourtesy of mbusa.com

The Design The 1996 complete make-over of the E-Class turned many heads. With a completely different retro style, slick body, and of course those headlights, it made all of the E-Class's competition look old and dated. The redesign signaled a new direction for Mercedes, one that is more fun, less expensive, and more consumer aware. Road and Track sums it up ,"The car's nose is crisp, fun-looking, and its oval headlamp treatment is irresistibly fetching". What attracts me to this new E-Class the most is the attractice C-Pillar on the sedans. It adds elegance to a sporty look. The E-Class sedan glides through the windtunnel with a low .29 coefficient of drag. The E430 Sport gets a handling package that includes high performance tires (235/45ZR17 Goodyear Eagle F1) and aggressive looking five-spoke alloy wheels, which help the E430 Sport achieve an awesome .88 g of ultimate grip. Also included are some aero-enhancements which transform this into an even meaner machine than it originally was.

Performance This is the category which sets apart the losers in the sport sedan department from the winners. While some just pretend to offer amazing performance (like the Infiniti Q45), others such as this E430, the BMW 540i and, regrettably, the xerox of the E -- the Lexus GS400(BARF!). The E430 blasts to 60 mph in a muscle car beating 6.2 seconds. Motor Trend proclaims, "Unyielding performance without undue fanfare; that is the E430 Sport experience." A 5-Speed Automatic that adapts to the driver's style of driving controls the up and downshifts. The 1998 E-Class features Brake Assist, which shortens emergency stops by applying full pressure where an ordinary driver might hesitate to really step on it. Braking comes from big four wheel discs, and enables the sedan to stop in 116 feet from 60 mph (Standard ABS).

Handling The previous generation E-Class had excellent high speed handling, but around town at slow speeds it felt like the steering was lubricated with molasses. In the current E-Class, the steering is a new rack & pinion system with variable power assist, and it provides the E with excellent high speed handling and gives the car a new-found around town crispness. Body roll is controlled and grip is great without sacrificing any comfort. Where the E has always shined is on bad roads, where its bank-vault solid body structure and controlled but compliant suspension handle the potholes with authority. This is made possible by the independent suspension with triangular lower control arms in the front and an independent 5 arm multilink suspension in the rear. Obviously, the Sport Package available on the E430 helps handling considerably. The package helps the sedan speed through the cones on the 600 foot slalom at a supercar beating 66.1 miles per hour!

Comfort German automakers' biggest strength is combining a luxurious ride with good handling characteristics. The E-Class is the prime example of this quality. The E-Class has been praised for its ride by almost every car magazine and rightly so. The seats were described by Car & Driver as, "...the best in the business". The E430 Sedan is swathed in rich leather. Excellent isolation from wind and road noise make the sedan one of the quitest cars in the business. The E430 can be equipped with multi-adjustable seats which can take the place of your chiropractor. Motor Trend says, "The best mega-adjustable seats ever found in a Mercedes-Benz.

On a Personal Note The E430 Sport - You gotta love it. V8 power. A serene feel that masks the ultimate handling capabilities which are superior than those of the respected BMW 540i Sport. And that look that the Sport Package adds. My second favorite Benz...just a hair below the C43 AMG.

Interior of the beautiful E-Class SedanCourtesy of mbusa.com

For more info on the E430, please email me at nicmich@flash.net.

For all the specs on the E430, click here